JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Four local high school students have created a nonprofit to help those struggling with online learning.
Ingenify is a free tutoring connection website created by Northview High juniors Benson Zhang, Paul Philip, Bedansh Pandey, and Jatong Su.
Pandey, who serves as director of communications, explained that when schools first shut down, he and his classmates struggled, but he was lucky enough to have access to a tutor. He said he and his friends realized that many students don’t have the same resources, so they developed a way to help.
Originally, the four students thought of creating a service where they, themselves, could tutor students, but virtual tutoring was already booming. Instead, they opted to build a centralized site to connect students with tutors.
“It takes away the hassle for the student to have to scour the internet for a high-quality tutor when they can find all these tutoring sites and things like that on our own centralized website,” Pandey said. “Jatong, our CEO, likes to say ‘there's a lot of doing, and there's a lot of saying’ you know, a lot of these nonprofits get stuck at the saying, but it's time to actually commit to the doing, and that's what we've been doing.”
The site launched in May and has since accumulated more than 300 users, both students and tutors. All tutors are of high school age and students are in elementary and middle school.
Currently, the four board members meet weekly over Zoom and bi-weekly in parking lots or outdoor spaces to work on Ingenify in a COVID-safe environment.
They discuss outreach to schools and tutors, and they chart progress from the previous week.
While Ingenify was developed as a way to help underprivileged students, Ingenify President Jatong said it also benefits students who need volunteer hours who would normally tutor.
Philip, the director of outreach, said he was drawn to the project because he and his sister tutor students in Dekalb County.
“I thought that this could be kind of a tremendous opportunity to reach out to those kinds of communities,” Philip said. “You know, so many kids are struggling already, and not being in school just makes it even worse. So, we thought that something like this would make a big difference.”
Students and tutors can make a free account at ingenify.org. All tutoring sessions take place on Zoom and are free for students. Ingenify keeps track of hours for those volunteers seeking credit for service.